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Published: Wednesday, 2/25/2009

Tecumseh soldier not guilty of murder in Afghan's death


FORT BRAGG, North Carolina A military jury has found a veteran Green Beret not guilty of premeditated murder and mutilation in the death of an Afghan man.

Army Special Forces Master Sgt. Joseph Newell of Tecumseh, Michigan, was charged in the March 2008 shooting in southern Afghanistan.

The jury at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, began deliberating Wednesday after hearing closing arguments.

Newell had testified that he shot the unidentified man twice with his rifle after the man lunged at him during questioning. Newell said he had stopped the suspected Taliban insurgent's vehicle after it appeared he was watching the convoy and communicating with other Taliban.

Prosecutors said Newell was not in danger at the time and that he also cut off the Afghan man's ear. Newell had faced a life sentence.

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